Why study cultural heritage in Nepal, The Netherlands & Ghana?
This program examines the value of cultural heritage in the life of contemporary societies. What forms of care, recognition, or attention are given to physical and intangible artifacts and history today? How does the debate about cultural heritage shape the politics of identity? What new ethics guide the promotion and management of cultural heritage? Who has the power to determine and maintain an “authentic” culture?
As a complex and dynamic process, preservation of cultural heritage is tied to local and global power structures. Competing narratives legitimize or de-legitimize value systems and shape how we interact with the past. In modern post- and neocolonial communities, the relation to and commemoration of cultural heritage is used to justify political, economic, and social programs.
In Nepal, The Netherlands, and Ghana, discover comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives on cultural heritage at museums, archives, and historic sites. Interrogate the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, including intangible creations, natural phenomena, and physical constructions, and explore ways that communities and institutions are engaging with the legacy of the past. Hear from artists, communities, and professional cultural workers within cultural institutions and creative industries. Learn to challenge preconceptions regarding patrimony, reconfigure the curation of culture at every scale, and confront your embodied positionalities vis-à-vis the past, present, and the “moral economy of cultural identity.”
Unlike other IHP comparative programs, this one does not have U.S. programming. However, the group will depart together from Los Angeles to Nepal.
- Evaluate competing claims for indigeneity in contemporary Nepal, including land use and physical birthrights, as well as ritual among intangible cultures.
- Consider the celebration of queer history, commemoration of the Holocaust, and the marketing of “authentic” cultural experience in The Netherlands.
- Analyze Ghana's complex role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and critique its implications on Pan-Africanism.
- Work both independently and collaboratively on a series of artistic or cultural curatorial projects that put theory to practice.
Previous college-level coursework or background in anthropology, history, economics, sociology, or political science, as assessed by SIT. Coursework or background in philosophy, religion, or ethics is recommended but not required.